Black Mississippi senators protest vote on race theory bill

The bill’s main sponsor, Republican Senator Michael McLendon de Hernando, who is white, said hundreds of voters told him they heard about the theory on the national news and they didn’t want it. it is taught to their children.

McLendon struggled to define critical race theory when asked about it. But he said: ‘Systematic racism should not be taught to our children.

Critical race theory is an academic framework that examines how racism has shaped public policy and institutions such as the legal system, and how these have perpetuated white dominance in society.

Republicans across the country have been fundraising for months claiming that critical race theory is a threat and that several Republican-run states have banned or restricted the teaching of critical race theory or similar concepts. through laws or administrative actions.

Republicans control the Mississippi House and the Senate. Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn are among GOP leaders who have publicly said critical race theory is harmful.

Black senators left the Mississippi Senate chamber ahead of the vote on Senate Bill 2113. It passed 32 to 2, with the only votes against the bill coming from white Democrats.

The bill will be sent back to the House for further work.

“Critical race theory” is in the title of the bill, but the main body of the bill does not define the term. The bill states that no school, community college or university can teach that “gender, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or inferior.”

“I’m trying to find the evil in this language, and I don’t see it,” said Republican Senator Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, who is white.

McDaniel said the bill would have been considered “the most dynamic civil rights legislation in the history of this state” had it been introduced in the 1950s. the state legislature was all-white, and blacks faced violent repercussions for attempting to vote.

Democratic Sen. John Horhn of Jackson, who is black, questioned whether the bill could prevent schools from teaching about the late U.S. Sen. James O. Eastland of Mississippi, who led an effort to block the anti-lynching legislation in 1948, or the Sovereignty Commission, a state spy agency created in 1956 to support a system of white supremacy. The commission was abolished in 1977.

Horhn said critical race theory examines the impact of race and law on the economy.

“The whole situation of it is based on the foundation of this country and on some of the precepts that we as a country have implicitly or explicitly accepted – chief among which we have justified slavery because the powers that judge black people as racially inferior,” Horhn said. “And a lot of our laws, a lot of our systems, a lot of our customs, a lot of our practices have been impacted by that.”

Democratic Sen. David Blount of Jackson, who is white and voted against the bill, asked McLendon whether Mississippi should ban other things schools don’t teach, like whether the sun revolves around the Earth .

“We trust our teachers to teach,” Blount said. “And we don’t need to pass laws to ban what isn’t done.”

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